How Your Feelings Affect Your Heart Health
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
How Your Feelings Affect Your Heart HealthForgiveness and the Happy Heart
In my book Mind Programming, I talk about my personal experience with the powerful effect of forgiveness on your health. Never underestimate the importance of releasing anger and negativity. In the spring of 2007, I was going along, playing with horses and enjoying the outdoors while working a full week, as do so many people, when I discovered a burning feeling in my left lung. It would appear when I exerted myself on the treadmill or bike, but I could work through it and it disappeared. I told my wife about it casually because it was strange, but I was convinced that perhaps I had some new allergy.
A couple of weeks passed, and one morning my wife opened a new box of cereal. As she prepared to pour from it, she noticed a warning on the box. She came to me upset. This cereal box described my symptoms exactly and warned that these can be the signs of an impending heart attack.
Needless to say, I was soon undergoing a nuclear stress test, which I promptly failed. Next there was an angiogram, and this one had my wife and younger son in tears. By this time, we were mentally prepared for a stent, but no one was thinking triple-bypass surgery.
The long and the short of it came down to my just being very lucky (or looked after). Two of the three main arteries in my heart were totally blocked, and the third was 99 percent blocked, yet my body had found ways to keep blood coursing through the entire heart. There was no heart damage.
The surgery left me with time to reflect on many things. I discovered that I initially felt betrayed, and I was angry. I’d been working out, no longer smoked, ate little salt and less sugar, consumed lots of vegetables and fruit—why me? As I went into my anger, I discovered two things. The first was that despite my belief that I’d forgiven, I hadn’t. I carried all sorts of angry scripts within me, waiting for a chance to act them out. These were often the scripts of my childhood, and when they weren’t, they could have been. In other words, my thinking patterns placed being right over being at peace.
You see, when you live in the state of forgiveness—that is, you forgive yourself and all others—you live in a special state of inner peace. Forgiveness is the antidote to anger, blame, guilt, and so on!
To test my theory I obtained a software/hardware setup from the Heart Math Institute (you can find what I used on my Website: www.eldontaylor.com/mindprogramming). I installed the software and began working with the system. It’s designed to evaluate several measures, including pulse rate and heart rhythm; but most important, it teaches the operator how to develop heart coherence. It’s a simple yet powerful device, and I quickly saw a correspondence between thoughts that were angry and incoherent versus peaceful, loving, even laughing thoughts and coherence.
I tested others. My beautiful wife had a very coherent heart pattern—until I asked her to think about something that angered her. In came the anger and out went the coherence, and so it was with everyone I tested. I was learning more, not only about the power of forgiveness but also about what I termed a happy heart.
A Happy Heart Is a Coherent Heart
What does it take to have a happy heart, and why would you want one? Here’s some of what I learned: Would you believe that a heavy heart inhibits your immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems from optimal performance? That means that your life is in all likelihood shortened and the quality is lessened. “Life sucks and then you die” is a self-fulfilling prophecy and reflects the attitude of a heavy heart.
What is the difference between a heavy heart and a happy one? Did you know that typically in less than one minute in front of the television, you enter an altered state of consciousness (brain-wave activity) that’s thought of as a state of hyper-suggestibility? (1) This is exactly what most would define as the state of hypnosis. While you’re watching television, what kind of hypnotic suggestions are entering your mind and in what way will they be triggered later? Maybe you’ve visited the supermarket and impulsively picked up some product that you’ve never purchased before. Why? Could you be responding to a sort of posthypnotic suggestion (command) that has lain dormant until the trigger, an image or symbol, goes off when you spy the product in the store (even peripherally)?
Do you know what heart coherence is? It can be seen in wave patterns that are smooth and even. What you witness in watching an EKG chart or other visual method of displaying heart activity are recursive sine waves—even, smooth, sine waves. When there’s a lack of coherence, the heart is struggling (not operating optimally), and for many people this becomes the normal pace of life.
What Generates Irregular And Incoherent Heart Patterns?
Did you know that your heart’s coherence tells the tale of a happy or a heavy heart? Did you know that games involving “shoot-’em-up, bang-bang” themes prevent heart coherence? How about the fact that anger, excessive anxiety, and stress all bring about incoherence? Were you aware that in watching movies, you have vicarious experiences in violence and other sordid matters that are incompatible with the happy heart (heart coherence)? Since discovering all of this, I’ve found comedies and uplifting television viewing much more healthful.
Are you aware that thoughts are related to heart coherence, and that just holding the memory of something sad, evil, mean, or violent—just thinking of someone you still hold anger toward—will generate irregular and incoherent heart patterns? In other words, thoughts translate to feelings.
Do feelings last forever? It’s easy to see why it’s so important to protect against errant and undesired thoughts entering our minds and so important to neutralize all negative emotions. My advice, paraphrased from my book Choices and Illusions, is to put a smile on your face (smiling fools the brain into increasing the body’s natural opiate distribution) and fake it until you make it!
1. Nelson, J. 1987. The Perfect Machine: TV in the Nuclear Age. Ontario, Canada: Dec Book Distribution.